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The Tale of Two Feisty Sisters: the Jewish Backgrounds and Interactions of Early Christianity with Judaism

In: Religion Topics

Submitted By niemiec45
Words 6579
Pages 27
September 9, 2009
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Bibliography 25 Introduction
Students of Church history are often puzzled by the sharp contrast between the Jewishness of the writers and events of the New Testament on one hand and the definitively non-Jewish character of the Early Church after the apostolic period on the other hand. An appreciation of the Jewish background of the Early Church and knowledge of the development of Jewish-Christian relations in the first three centuries of the Christian era is therefore crucial if one desires to understand the parting of ways between Judaism and Christianity. These two sister faiths would become bitter enemies within a few centuries after the emergence of the Christian faith. This paper, while heavily relying and interacting with primary sources of the time, will endeavor to highlight the Jewish origin of Christianity, trace its development within Judaism, and chronicle its inexorable divorce from its Jewish roots and sister faith.
Setting the stage: the expansion of the Jewish Diaspora During the Persian occupation of Palestine (538-332 BC), many Jews decided to pass on the magnanimous offer of Cyrus allowing them to return to Palestine and chose to remain in Babylonia where subsequently, the Jewish population grew in influence over the centuries.1 Already during the Babylonian invasion and in the lifetime of the prophet Jeremiah, many Jews fled to Egypt, where they established substantial Jewish settlements. The Greek period (332-167 BC) saw the expansion of the Jewish Diaspora. The Newly founded city of Alexandria became a key center of Hellenistic Jewry, which produced the Greek version of the Old Testament called Septuagint.2 Syria also saw a significant increase in its Jewish population....

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